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How do I report a workplace safety issue?

You have the right to expect a safe work environment in California. If you see a safety hazard, you may wonder if you should call the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, calling OSHA is not always the right first move. Sometimes alternative options are a better choice.

According to the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, contacting OSHA may not always get the right results or get results as quickly as other options can. You can first let your supervisor know. There is a chance that your employer does not know about the safety issue and will fix it as soon as you report it. If you are part of a union, you can also contact your union representative.

If you feel the safety hazard poses an immediate danger, then you may want to contact OSHA. OSHA will keep your identity secret so your employer does not know you made the report. Keep in mind that OSHA may take some time to remedy the situation, though, because it must investigate first. You might find an alternative step, such as those mentioned above, will produce faster results.

In any event, you should talk with your co-workers. Strength in numbers is not a cliché. It can help you to get faster attention to the issue and make an employer take your concerns more seriously. It also helps prevent issues with retaliation or stop anything negative that your employer could do. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not legal advice.

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